Kotipelto - Coldness
Century Media
Melodic Heavy Metal
10 songs (42:24)
Release year: 2004
Kotipelto, Century Media
Reviewed by Shane

I’m sure that I am not the only one who is upset that Stratovarius will be moving forward without Timo Kotipelto handling the vocal duties. Furthermore, I am sure that I am not the only one who is sceptical of the future of Stratovarius due to the recent antics of Timo Tolkki, who truly appears to be a troubled individual. Yes, Strato fans, it is time to accept the fact that Stratovarius will never ever be the same. Fortunately for us, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Kotipelto’s second solo release Coldness is probably going to resemble classic Stratovarius more than the next Stratovarius release will.

For this album Kotipelto has recruited Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom/Warmen) on keyboards, Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius) on bass, Juhani Malmberg (Tunnelvision) and Mike Romeo (Symphony X) on guitars and Mirka Rantanen (Thunderstone/Tunnelvision/Warmen) on drums and each musician contributes a solid, yet unspectacular performance. In fact, the same can be said for Timo Kotipelto and the album as a whole, as it is definitely solid but no track is that spectacular yet thankfully no track is terrible either.

The album starts with Seeds of Sorrow and with the constant double bass drumming tempo, Seeds of Sorrow sounds like your typical power metal song, only a tad slower and perhaps simpler. Like much of this album, Seeds of Sorrow is reminiscent of a second rate Stratovarius track, as it contains many of the elements that are mainstays of the power metal genre and the classic Stratovarius sound such as a technical guitar and keyboard solo and a catchy upbeat chorus. The first single released off of the album is Reasons and it is also one of the best songs on the album. Many of the songs off of this album are good, yet they still feel like they are lacking something to make them special. Perhaps this is because it is so easy to compare Coldness to Stratovarius so perhaps the bar is already raised unfairly high, however, Reasons is still a solid track and is able to adequately hold its own with your average Strato track (Yes, that’s a compliment). Around follows and it is very typical of this album as yet again, this song is solid yet unspectacular. What seems to be missing from the majority of the songs off of this album is complexity. Around is fairly simple and straightforward with little to no surprises. It is just really hard to hear songs that follow the power metal formula so closely with Timo Kotipelto singing and not draw constant comparisons to Stratovarius. One major difference though is the length of the songs. Most of the tracks hover around the 3:30 to 4 minute range, leaving little time for complex arrangements, lengthy solos and tempo changes. As a result, there is nothing resembling an epic track on the album and I find this very disappointing because I believe that Timo Kotipelto is very much at his best in that element.

The fourth track off of Coldness is Can You Hear the Sound and this is my least favourite song off of the album. The track is solid, containing all the prerequisite elements of your classic power metal track with the exception of the chorus which I personally found kind of grating. Timo sings “Can you hear the SOUND!!” and then later rhymes it with “GROUND” while bellowing out the notes. I’m a big fan of Timo Kotipelto’s voice but the notes that he hits when bellowing out those two words just got annoying after a while. However, all the other choruses on the album are very catchy and well done. Coldness of My Mind is a stand out track as Timo's voice carries the song backed by a nice keyboard melody and chugging riff. It also features a cool guitar solo as well, however, if I have one complaint about this song and several others on the album, it is that they are just two short and too simple. By the time you really get into the groove of the track, the song is almost over. Furthermore, Timo Kotipelto sounds great but he plays it pretty safe and sings pretty much everything in the same safe range. It would have been nice to hear him challenge himself a little bit more and perhaps this would have added some much needed passion into the safe and simple songs on the album.

The album closes with what is by far the heaviest song on the album, Here We Are. The guitars are thick and much heavier than they are on the previous tracks and this is a welcome change. Here We Are retains all of the great qualities of the previous songs, only it is longer and heavier, making it seem complete, unlike the other songs, which just seem like they are lacking something. And that’s the thing, I just can’t help feeling that something is missing when I hear this album. I'm not sure whether it is true passion, complexity, heaviness or just plain originality that is missing, however, one thing is for sure. With the future of Stratovarius seemingly spiraling ever downward with each Tolkki antic (Some one please help him quick!), their fans can take comfort in the fact that they can still hear Kotipelto making music that is very much in the Stratovarius vein. Even though Coldness may not be able to measure up to the high standard set by the classic Strato releases, it is still a quick and fun listen and let’s face it……..It is also the closest thing to the next decent Stratovarius album that we are going to get (Maybe ever).

Killing Songs :
Reasons, Journey Black, Evenings Fall, Coldness of My Mind, Here We Are
Shane quoted 72 / 100
Jeff quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Kotipelto that we have reviewed:
Kotipelto - Serenity reviewed by Marty and quoted 75 / 100
Kotipelto - Waiting For The Dawn reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
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